3 min read
Visa launches crypto advisory service for banking and retailer

By Jane Denton For Thisismoney 

The world's biggest payment processor visa has launched a global cryptocurrency advisory service for commercial clients like banks, as the adoption of digital currencies continues to gain momentum.

The group's advisory service is being geared towards financial institutions keen to attract or keep customers with a crypto offering. 

Visa claimed the case for crypto was 'getting stronger', adding that recent UK-based research showed 41 percent of adults surveyed had either used cryptocurrencies or viewed them positively.

Among current UK crypto owners surveyed, 78 percent expressed an interest in crypto-linked cards, which enable shoppers to convert and spend crypto in the same way you can use a debit or credit card. 

Eighty-five percent of people Visa surveyed in the UK said they were interested in crypto rewards, which allow people to earn crypto as a reward for card spending. 

Visa also revealed that awareness of crypto among financial 'decision makers' surveyed in the UK is high, at 92 per cent.

A global study the group conducted reportedly revealed that nearly 40 percent of crypto owners would be 'likely or likely' to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto-related products in the next year. 

Visa's new services include educating institutions about cryptocurrencies, allowing clients to use the payment processor's network for digital offerings, and helping manage backend operations. 

Antony Cahill, deputy chief executive of Visa, Europe, said: 'Crypto represents a technological shift for money movement and digital ownership.'

He added: 'As consumers change their approach to investing, where they bank, and their views on the future of money, every financial institution will need a crypto strategy.'

Visa said in a statement: 'For financial institutions eager to attract or keep customers with a crypto offering, retailers looking to delve into NFTs, or central banks exploring digital currencies, understanding the crypto ecosystem is a vital first step. 

'Through their work with over 60 crypto platforms, Visa’s global network of consultants and product experts have deep expertise to help financial institutions evaluate the crypto opportunity, develop concrete strategies, and pilot new user experiences and innovations like crypto rewards programs and CBDC-integrated consumer wallets.'

Uma Wilson, executive vice president at UMB Bank in the US, said: 'We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stable coins and the use cases that are most relevant for our retail and commercial business lines.'

Visa currently uses its network to allow buying, selling, and custody of digital currency. 

It also offers a credit card that lets users earn bitcoin on purchases and allows the use of 'USD Coin', a stable coin cryptocurrency, the value of which is pegged directly to the US dollar, to settle transactions on its payment network.

But, for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to be used as a medium of exchange, price stability is needed, Visa's chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu, told Reuters.

He said: 'If the price is going to fluctuate from $60,000 to $50,000 in a few hours, it's a very difficult thing for a merchant to accept (bitcoin) as a currency.

'I don't know if cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will ever be a medium of exchange. Stablecoins will.' 

He added Visa would facilitate such transactions when the time was right.

It emerged today that Meta Platforms Inc's cryptocurrency wallet, Novi, will allow users to send and receive money through the social media giant's messaging app, WhatsApp. The pilot program is open to a few people in the United States, Novi head Stephane Kasriel said.

Last month, online giant Amazon announced it would stop accepting Visa credit cards issued in the UK from 19 January 2022.

Amazon said the move was because of high credit card transaction fees, and Visa debit cards would still be accepted.

Visa said it was 'very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future.'

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